Category Archives: Community media

Tweet them right and they will follow

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A little birdy told Peace Exchange that the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) had offered another packed-with-information workshop last week.

A workshop that introduced participants to the power and many uses of the popular microblogging platform Twitter.

Even though the symbol of the little blue bird frequently shows up on web pages, only one year ago, statistics showed Cypriots had little time for capturing their thoughts or activities, or engaging with ‘followers’, by means of the Haiku-like 140 characters offered by Twitter. It was all about Facebook.

That has changed, and apparently there are just as many of us Tweeting as checking our Facebook feeds these days.

Which means CCMC’s workshop was particularly timely, as Twitter is yet one more tool in civil society organisations’ tool-kits for engaging with and mobilising their stakeholders.

Topics were pitched at the beginner level, but much ground was covered.

Participants learned how to customise their Twitter accounts, harness the power of retweets, hashtags and keywords and try out applications to identify and monitor topics being tweeted about in real time, such as: twitterfall, twendr.comtwinitor.com and twitscoop.com.

They also learned Tweeting strategies to build and mobilise their networks.

A simple tactic is to find (e.g. by using listorious.com) influential Tweeters with many followers in a particular niche, and then follow who they’re following, thereby making the most of similar ‘communities’.

Another key practice is to develop a distinct ‘voice’ and to listen and respond to followers, without merely blasting them with information.

The workshop also stressed that while Twitter was a very valuable tool for activists and civil society organisation to reach people and affect change, it could not simply replace grassroots mobilisation of stakeholders.

One of the case studies used that illustrated this point well was the recent uprising in Egypt. While Twitter certainly played a key role in coordinating people, protesters in the street were still also verbally communicating to those not online about where and at what times to gather.

A lot of material to cover in the space of two short hours, but those attending the workshop were certainly left with an array of knowledge and tips to put into use.

As one participant noted: “Inspiration and change can start online, and the momentum can be increased through grassroots activism and physical gatherings or events – this is the change process in our century.

“We were so excited after the training and we hope we see a Twitterstorm – where people come together to tweet on the same topic at the same time – in Cyprus really soon.”

Good stuff indeed, and you can be sure CCMC will be offering more tools, tips and insight in the months ahead.

That’s all for this week, but we’ll be back again shortly, so watch this space!

(And, for those who want their own Twitter overview, check out the videos here  and here.)

You can read a Greek version of this post here, and a Turkish version here

Making the moves that matter

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If you haven’t melted away in this heatwave over the past few days, then high five! Peace Exchange really has to applaud you… summer has well and truly arrived.

Luckily, here to share some refreshing news is Jale Canlibalik of ENGAGE, with a look at the Peace it Together partner’s ‘On the Move’ campaign.

Read on!

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Doing away with the traditional conferences and seminars and inviting people to come to us, the ENGAGE team are now coming to you through our ENGAGE-On the Move campaign.

This campaign has seen the team join in various festivals across the island as a way of interacting with the local community and taking part in local festivities while actively promoting reconciliation.

To date, we have ‘drummed’ with the children in Famagusta with ‘DrumInspire’ at the Famagusta Walled City Association’s 4th Annual Children’s Festival.  We have immersed ourselves in the rose waters of Agros at the 6th Annual Rose Festival and we have ridden donkeys while dancing for peace with ‘Dance for Peace’ at the Buyukkonuk/Komi Kebir 10th Eco Day Festival.

We have so far interacted with many new people and received positive feedback from each of the locations we have visited, with one person from Buyukkonuk/Komi Kebir commenting: “this is an excellent project, but why are you not at every festival?” 🙂

During the design of Phase II of ENGAGE, it was decided the time had come to move away from the traditional Nicosia-based events and really engage with local communities and promote the work we do at a grass-roots level.

It is important to us that this phase of the project is much more inclusive and covers a wider scope of the island in terms of promoting active citizenship, civic engagement and reconciliation island-wide.

For this reason, the ENGAGE-On the Move campaign will see the team take part in a series of localised events over the course of the two-year project.

Next stop is the Dikmen/Dhikomo Festival – running from Friday June 22 from 7.30pm until Sunday June 24.

Here the ENGAGE-On the Move team will be distributing flyers and goodies, discussing how locals can get more involved with the project through our active citizenship campaign and through our Active Volunteer Engage Teams, and lobbying for the policy papers created via our Gender and Diversity-themed Active Dialogue Networks, with members of the network taking part to share their work and experiences.

ENGAGE has also ensured DrumInspire, the bicommunal folklore group Dance for Peace and the Bicommunal Choir will be on hand to entertain Dikmen/Dhikomo festival-goers.

If you would like further information on this event please contact ENGAGE’s Jale Canlibalik at jcanlibalik@mc-med.eu

And for further information as to where our next stop will be, feel free to check out our website or  email the team.

That’s all from ENGAGE at the moment; we look forward to seeing you this week in Dikmen/Dhikomo!

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Thanks Jale, sounds like there’s lots of good things to be shared, so do check out the links above for more information on the Dikmen/Dhikomo fest and beyond.

Join us again soon for more Peace it Together news, right here on the Peace Exchange. Until then, stay cool, remember to carry your sunblock and… see you in the next post!

You can read a Greek version of this post here, and a Turkish version here.

Tools and strategies for the work ahead

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The good folks at the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) recently completed a particularly busy week, equipping attendees of two key workshops – electronic newsletter creation and online activism – with the training to maximise their outreach and mobilise their stakeholders.

The first workshop focused on introducing participants – a mixture of NGO representatives, Peace it Together project partners and social activists – to the free online platform MailChimp, which allows users to design email newsletters, share them on social networks and track their results.

Attendees were led through a series of exercises to make the most of MailChimp’s wide array of pre-designed and customisable newsletter templates.

Tips and hints to remember in particular were:

  • To be meticulous in compiling the newsletter’s list. Far better to have fewer contacts who are genuinely interested in the content than a massive list of folks who are, at best, apathetic about what you’re sharing, or, at worst, likely to resent the intrusion into their already-overloaded inbox
  • To make subject lines catchy, so the target reader is more tempted to open the emailed newsletter
  • To make content attractive with hyperlinks and lots of bold visuals
  • To make content succinct and easily scanable
  • To ensure newsletters really contain ‘news’ – and if there isn’t enough newsworthy material to share, to consider delaying sending out the newsletter until there is – or simply adopt a less frequent emailing cycle

After an overview of the range of social media tools available, the second workshop exposed participants to both online and offline strategies for activism, with case studies compiled from the regional players in the Arab Spring, as well as Cyprus.

Among the steps in digital activism outlined by the workshop, were:

  • Documenting: digital content creation – text, audio, video
  • Mobilising: information sharing with a call to action
  • Synthesising: aggregation and combining of content

The workshop stressed that activism was more than simply posting a link on Facebook or Twitter, or ‘liking’ the content of a site, and that the internet was just the starting point for coming together to create change.

Ultimately,  focusing on the technologies people were already using was what was rewarded by outreach and mobilisation, rather than utilising tools whose function was unlikely to reach target stakeholders.

“People living in Cyprus are very active online and already use tools of online activism without the methodology of affecting social change,” noted CCMC’s Beran Djemal.

“This workshop helped to convert the tools into strategic action, and helped Cypriot activists better position themselves in the regional context using best practices from other online activism initiatives around the world.”

Attendee Sophia Arnaouti, from Cyprus Islandwide NGO Development Platform (CYINDEP) and Peace Centre agreed. “The workshop really built our capacity even more to be able to campaign in a dynamic way,” she said.

So much to take in, but well worth the effort – thanks CCMC!

That’s all for this time but, as always, stay tuned and we’ll see you in the next post.

You can read a Greek version of this post here and a Turkish version here.

GUEST POST: CCMC marks new milestone in media collaboration

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You know the bits in the James Bond films when the athletic spy leaps over impossibly wide chasms, or flies across rooftops on a speeding motorbike, all the while keeping his balance, control and direction?

Well, there are situations when the obstacles are not physical, and the means to overcome them are words, ideas, opinions and collaboration – and yet the stakes are just as high.

This week’s guest post is by CCMC‘s Michalis Simopoulos, who shares with Peace Exchange the latest milestone in media collaboration across the divide, with the launch of the Collaborative Media Initiative report.

Take it away Michalis!

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It’s been a long time in coming, but was worth the wait.

Since the Collaborative Media Initiative (CMI) project started back in June 2010, Peace it Together partner CCMC has been grappling with what ‘media collaboration across the divide’ actually means.

Media is not only a broad concept, but a fluid one. After all, in an increasingly globalised information environment, is it really possible to isolate the media in one locality without considering its interdependence on regional, as well as technological developments?

One thing is for sure – the case of the media in Cyprus is not unique. Media in conflict and post-conflict zones has impacted the lives of ordinary citizens in both negative and positive ways.

On the one hand we may recall the incitement of ethnic hatred across the Rwandan airwaves contributing to horrific genocide in 1994. On the other, we can only marvel at the courage of journalists such as Gordana Igric, Director of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), whose organisation has changed not only the media landscape across this volatile region, but is transforming the culture of antagonism and hatred of decades gone by.

In the case of Cyprus, the conflict continues to frame relations between the island’s two main communities, placing additional barriers to effective communication and information exchange between them.

It also has the effect of marginalising the voices of those who speak of Cyprus as one, relegating the importance of issues relevant to all communities on the island.

So bringing together media professionals in this environment is a necessary step to promote a culture of trust and understanding between communities.

A Potential Untapped: Media Working Together Across the Divide in Cyprus, the final report of the CMI launched on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at CCMC, highlights the importance as well as the potential of media collaboration for the future of Cyprus.

The report has identified ways in which different stakeholders – be they at the decision-making level, reporting in the field, or at the grass-roots civil society level – can contribute to a greater convergence of the media across the divide.

But equally, it has emphasised the need for organisations like CCMC to further empower people like Osman Kalfaoglu and Giorgos Kakouris, journalists at Yeniduzen and Politis newspapers respectively, who want to “explore ways to allow journalists to be able to exchange information on a daily basis across the divide” and to “open up new fields of inquiry and to connect the issues that concern Cypriots from a new, island-wide perspective”.

The full report is available for download on the CCMC website, and if you have any suggestions on how CCMC can support people like Giorgos and Osman, drop us an email at info@cypruscommunitymedia.org.

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Thanks Michalis, an important milestone indeed!

Please keep the guest posts coming, and Peace Exchange will be back with more good stuff soon.

Have a great weekend and… see you in the next post!

You can read a Greek version of this post here, and a Turkish version here.

Coming together for One Day on Earth

A little over a hundred years ago, with the beginnings of what we would know today as cinema, few would have dared imagine that they would be able to view moving images on a screen as a kind of staple of daily life, let alone record their own lives and share it with people worldwide.

The advent of TV, mainstream news and the internet changed all that, and now, with the proliferation of cheap digital cameras, free editing tools and the vast outreach of online communities, we can effortlessly create content that, to varying degrees, is available – in real time – to all.

Given this amazing potential for capturing and sharing, a grassroots project like One Day on Earth – in which, on October 10, 2010, over 19,000 volunteer filmmakers from across the globe shot more than 3,000 hours of footage from their daily lives to combine into a feature-length documentary – may have seemed an inevitability.

Yet, in the words of the event’s creator, Kyle Ruddick, this first movie to feature footage from every country in the world on the same day: “it was a really challenging task to do” and represented a huge undertaking.

Given that the film highlights priority UNDP issues, such as women’s empowerment and sustainable development, and that filming took place in over 95 UNDP Country Offices, it is unsurprising that UNDP was one of the project’s partners in October 2010.

More specifically, 120 HD video cameras were donated to UNDP by the One day on Earth team and were sent to colleagues in UNDPs Country Offices all over the world, to film UNDP’s work on 10/10/10.

In the case of Cyprus, and as part of its mandate to be involved in grassroots collaborative media initiatives, Peace it Together together partner CCMC also submitted material for the film, shot at the old Nicosia airport.

The footage featured Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot youth sharing their views and experiences at the airport, which was abandoned after 1974.

So, when do audiences get to see the fruit of this burst of creative collaboration? The answer is, sooner than you think!

One Day on Earth has its world premier on Earth Day, April 22, 2012 and will be shown in over 160 countries around the world, including Cyprus.

CCMC, in partnership with Peace it Together partner Youth Power, will screen the documentary twice this Sunday, at 8pm at the CCMC Community Space in Nicosia’s buffer zone (with Greek subtitles), and in the CCMC Community Space hosted by the Environmental Society of Lefke (with Turkish subtitles), in parallel with screenings around the world at the same time.

More information on the screenings can be found here.

And for filmmakers who might have an interest in being part of this year’s recordings on December 12, 2012, as well as educators of kids aged four to 18, a wealth of resources as well as a community platform can be found on the One Day on Earth website.

Peace Exchange leaves you with a video of Ruddick’s Ted TV talk on the making of One Day on Earth, a project that harnessed the power of that most abundant resource we all share: our stories.

That’s all for this time. See you in the next post!

You can read a Greek version of this post here, and a Turkish version here.

GUEST POST: ENGAGE outlines a new resource for peace

Here at the Peace Exchange, when we’re not offering you a peek into the activities of Peace it Together project partners, we spend a lot of time sifting through different articles, videos and podcasts to bring you something juicy each week.

And of course, the internet can be a vast online treasure trove of information on every topic imaginable. Not to mention, a means of quickly building and managing communities of like-minded individuals.

It is with this vast potential for learning, communicating and sharing in mind, that PE is excited to play host this week to Nicholas Papachrysostomou of PiT partner ENGAGE, who has a provocative idea to bring to you…

Read on!

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What would you say to building a very different kind of library? One where there were no dusty books, fraying card catalogues or late fees ever to deal with?

What would you say, in fact, to the idea of an online peace library for Cyprus?

It so happens our partner team, the Peace It Together network is poised to put together just such an innovative electronic resource.

After all, building peace in Cyprus has been taking place intensely in the last decade, so why not let everyone, both in Cyprus and abroad know about it?

Especially when our library would not only contain written material, but also videos and photos, social media sites and links, personal stories in the form of blog posts, eye-witness accounts and any other form of record possible to create.

Acknowledging the importance of this initiative, Dr. Bülent Kanol, Executive Director of the Management Centre noted: “Having worked on peacebuilding and reconciliation issues in Cyprus for some years, I think there is a great need to record the experiences of those involved over time.

“The new initiative called Peace It Together aims to provide the space and resources for all reconciliation actions, not just to cooperate and coordinate but also to develop a knowledge hub and a Reconciliation Index, which in turn can be used by Cypriots and other regional players in order to create more just and reconciled societies in this region of the world.”

Agreeing with him, his ENGAGE counterpart, Michalis Avraam, Executive Director of NGO Support Centre, stressed that: “A well informed,vibrant, active and empowered civil society safeguards and enriches the functioning of democracy, and in the case of Cyprus, plays a very important role in the peace and reconciliation efforts on the island.

“Hence, the Peace it Together network will be sharing, recording and learning from the  experiences of organizations and civil society activists from both communities, who have been involved in peacebuilding, carrying out and analyzing the results of  research and advocating for peace and reconciliation.”

So, looking ahead: by networking and collaborating with local peace activists on the one hand and peace experts from abroad on the other, we can bring all kinds of input together, so that Cypriots and non-Cypriots alike are able to draw from the island’s peacebuilding experience..

Ultimately, we would like our peace library to become an international hub of knowledge, where ideas can be exchanged and dialogue can be developed.

Do you have a Cyprus peace story or experience to share? The Peace it Together Knowledge and Innovation Officers, Mehmet merdogan@mc-med.eu and Ellada ellada@ngo-sc.org look forward to hearing from you!

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Peace Exchange thanks Nicholas for being our guest blogger this week, and will be bringing you more good stuff very soon.

So, start thinking about what you’d like to see on the ‘shelves’ of your online peace library, and… we’ll see you in the next post!

You can read a Greek version of this post here, and a Turkish version here.

GUEST POST: CCMC mixes it up with treats, tips and mingling

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Peace Exchange had a really great, chilled-out evening this Wednesday at a Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) mixer, where there were games, eye-catching information packs and opportunities to network. Katherine Kotsireas of CCMC shares more of the highlights below:

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“CCMC was  immensely excited to receive its guests for our first in a series of Member Mixer events for 2012, the theme of which was CCMC’s ‘Online Mixer’.

“ ‘So, what do you mean by online?’ ” some  guests asked. Well, we considered the event to be a fun immersion into the awesome world of internet tools that can make a huge difference in the advocacy, campaigning and civil society work of our members.

“The inspiration from the ‘Facebook revolutions’ of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia during 2011 was clear evidence of the difference social media can make in the fields of social change and activism.

“So, between snacks, drinks and gifts for our guests, we also gave out a fantastic booklet with effective online tools and tips for civil society.

“Booklet subjects included how to make your blog more effective, third-party applications for handling Twitter, advice for running a Facebook campaign, and much more.

“One of the things we notice is that our members are doing such great work and we believe more people need to know about it and get involved. By boosting the skills of our members and helping them expand their online digital footprint we are also expanding the space for real social change in Cyprus!

“Many of the people who filled our Community Space on the night also enthusiastically participated in a game to find their ‘digital footprint’ – a treasure hunt for hidden paper footprints. The person with the most ‘feet’ received a special pack on Mobile Phone Advocacy containing a book and a DVD.

“Throughout the evening, conversations flowed, ideas were swapped and spontaneous team-ups were created.

“We are honoured to find within our member organisations and potential member organisations, an abundance of wonderful, dedicated friends, and were exhilarated to see them mingle, mix, joke, laugh, initiate or consolidate friendships.

“These friends and our extended family of media makers, with their creative passion and quirky individualism, are the real CCMC.

“As Orestis Tringides from IKME noted: ‘It was great to meet with friends, old and new, and share thoughts and feelings that bring us closer together, because although we may be colleagues or share common passions and ideas, above all we are together, and we need to invest in this togetherness and make it flourish.

” ‘The information provided by CCMC during the event was indeed useful for personal, organisational and inter-organisational development, but events and get-togethers like this help to build the very essential social infrastructure among us, upon which everything else can be built,’ he added.

“So thank  you to all who attended for your support and warmth for CCMC. As Mehmet Nevzat Erdoğan from the Management Centre so kindly posted on our Facebook page: ‘i ♥ you ccmc! you make Cyprus a better place’.”

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Peace Exchange thanks Katherine for her warm and lively account of the evening. It’s a pleasure whenever PiT network members share about their activities directly, so keep these guest posts coming!

That’s all for this week, but there’ll be more good stuff very soon.

Till then, enjoy the weekend and… see you in the next post!

You can read a Greek version of this post here, and a Turkish version here.